Pernod Ricard breaks ground on China whisky distilleryBy Amy Hopkins
China’s first malt whisky distillery will be built with an investment of US$150 million from Pernod Ricard and is scheduled to begin production in 2021.
Construction of the Emeishan Malt Whisky Distillery – which is based in the city of Emeishan in China’s Sichuan province – started today (29 August).
The 13-hectare site will incorporate an “innovative approach to malt whisky-making”, inspired by the surrounding area. It will be the first distillery in the world to appoint a Chinese master distiller, and is said to be the first built in China by an international wine and spirits group.
The distillery will house an “immersive” visitor centre, set to open in 2021, and will aim to attract 2m tourists in its first decade of opening.
“The ground-breaking of the distillery signifies the beginning of a journey of innovation, expertise and dedication to craft a new, iconic malt whisky that embraces whisky history and heritage with a character unique to Chinese culture,” said Philippe Guettat, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia.
“It is both the symbol of our strong history with China after three decades of operation and the sign of our deep confidence into the future of international style spirits in this fascinating market.
“We’re proud to be part of China’s fabric and contributing to the sustainable growth of its economy and society, by transferring whisky-making expertise to the people, credibility to the region and the spirit of conviviality to visitors and consumers alike.”
Pernod Ricard’s US$150m investment will be phased over the next decade. The group has appointed Neri&Hu, known for its work on the New Shanghai Theatre, the Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat and Aranya Art Centre, to design the distillery.
The design will use a vernacular approach, incorporating materials from the native area. The boulders extracted from the site will be used to build stone walls, while reclaimed tiles from the region will be used in the construction of the roof.
Pernod Ricard is the world’s largest whisky supplier to China, where its Scotch brands such as Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal sell high volumes. In its recent full-year financial results, Pernod Ricard’s sales in China were up 21%.
Click through the following pages to view a selection of artist’s impression images of the Emeishman Malt Whisky Distillery